My husband’s project at work has mostly come to a close this month, so he’s been getting home at a much more reasonable hours these days (4PM – 4:30PM instead of 6PM when he leaves before 6AM). It’s been really nice having him home more and we’ve gotten to enjoy our afternoons together as a family instead of just two of us until dinner time.

Things will ramp up again in a few more months, but we’re really enjoying the extra time with him for now. It does make me long for the kind of job that had him working a regular 40 hours every week, but that’s just not construction.

1. My friend sent me a scoby starter and I FINALLY started to ferment my very own kombucha for the first time. We shall see how it turns out, but I’m pretty excited to actually be making the attempt as it was something on my “to try” list for years now. I love kombucha, but it is so expensive to buy from the store, so I don’t drink it very often these days.

I don’t handle caffeine well, so I picked out some really low caffeine green tea to use for the brew based on recommendations from a tea shop, so hopefully that won’t mess it up. I’ll report back once I get to try it next week 🙂

2. It was SEVENTY DEGREES AND SUNNY on Tuesday, which is basically unheard of for early March. We took full advantage of the weather and walked to the park for a picnic dinner. As always, we brought real plates and silverware as well as our unpaper towels, even though we were out at the park.

After dinner, we walked over to the baseball fields and our son watched some older kids practice for a good half an hour, which made my softball player heart happy. Two more springs until he can start playing t-ball! We will never force him into a sport or activity that he doesn’t want to do, but for now, he says he wants to play baseball like his mama.

All in all, it was a seriously wonderful – and free – evening and got us really longing for spring and warmer weather (since it dropped into the 50s and started raining the next day).

Simple but tasty meal out at the park

3. The discount produce section wins again! This time with a bag of potatoes and a huge bag of apples. Our son eats an apple most days, and I will take them to work regularly, so I was pretty darn excited to see them for 99¢.

4. We had dinner with my parents on Wednesday night. Since my mother and grandmother watch our son that day, we’ve gotten into the habit of just staying for dinner when we pick him up. They generally pay for dinner (though occasionally they’ll let us pitch in), but we do usually help with the prep work.

This week, we had homemade burgers and sweet potato fries. It was a tasty meal and cost a fraction of the price of going out to dinner with all seven of us (my youngest brother is 18 and still lives at home).

Extra fancy burger with a fried egg

5. I didn’t buy lunch again this week, so my streak continues from at least October when I first started logging my Friday Frugal Five. I did get a nice fancy work lunch on Wednesday (and will be going to another one today), so I did get some tasty meals during the work week.

Now that I’ve refused to buy my own lunch out for the past five months, I’ve come to seriously appreciate the meals that are covered by work. The food near work is absolutely fabulous, so it is a big treat when I do get a meal. If we just had run of the meal fast food places nearby, I might not be so tempted, but as there are some seriously good restaurants nearby, I still have to fight the draw of lunch out even though it’s been months and months.

Apparently this past week has been all about frugal food choices – which does make sense since I’ve been so focused on our grocery budget. It’s these kinds of choices that will make it so we continue to spend so much less than we used to, while still having some great meals.

What was the weather like in your area this past week? What’s your favorite outside activity as the weather starts to get nicer again?

26 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 11)

  1. Wednesday was 62 degrees outside so I opened the patio door and a window and aired out the house. I am so ready for spring. Today, Friday is only 33. Love your frugal ideas. My husband has had a heart attack and we would love for him to be able to retire but I haven’t been able to convince him that he could yet. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    1. It’s amazing how warm the 60s feel after winter! At least the weather is headed in the right direction eventually. And fingers crossed with your husband – that sounds like a wake up call to really analyze your life. Hopefully he can get to retirement sooner than later, and glad it sounds like he is okay!!

  2. I can’t wait for warm weather. Snow is still flying here!

    Sounds like you had a lovely time with your picnic/walk through the park. Wandering around exploring and having an picnic are some of my favourite activities!

    Do you explore different parks?

    1. We have SO many different parks in our area, so yes we check out lots of them. The one this week was the one literally less than a 10 minutes walk through trails from our house. We’re lucky enough to live within easy walking distance of 3 giant parks with trails (and lots beyond that within close driving distance).

      1. We purposefully bought smack dab in the middle of a ton of parks, otherwise we are pretty close to the “city” – we can walk to the grocery store and a few other places, and otherwise take the bus. It’s not quite as convenient as full downtown living, but there are serious upsides as well (like all the trees).

  3. We got a bunch of sunny snow this week, which is better than dreary snow. But tomorrow should be 50! And we plan to make another few quarts of maple syrup with our collected sap.
    And I’m excited to hear how the homemade Kombucha making goes. I’m only occasionally in the mood for it, so I haven’t tried making it at home yet.
    We’re hanging with my parents tonight watching March Madness, but we’re bringing the meal this time. Which is a rare treat, they rarely let us contribute anything beyond garden produce. (Of course I’m making chili which is almost completely made from last year’s garden, so maybe this doesn’t count!)

    1. Total jealousy that you can collect and make your own maple syrup! And I’m really hoping the kombucha turns out. If I can make it well myself, I’ll be drinking it alllll the time!

  4. Mmmmm, food. Wait, I can focus, I swear!

    I’ll be very interested to hear about your kombucha adventures! The first (and pretty much only) time I had it was when I went to Portland in October, and I wouldn’t be opposed to having more of it in my life. But we’re not as mainstream hipster here so I think there’s probably limited options for it and they’re probably fairly expensive, so it’s likely not worth it.

    It’s been horribly cold and WINDY this week, and I am so ready for that to go away. It’s supposed to be in the 50s on Sunday, so if I’m not doing things that day with the extended family that’s in town this weekend (depends on if I see them after my work shift tomorrow), I might go for my first hike of the year!

    1. Shoot, we have kombucha on tap in a lot of places around here, and like 5 different varieties at every grocery store. Apparently it is a super northwest thing? But yeah, they are ALL expensive.

  5. Jealous of your super nice weather (even if it was just for a day)! I need to start finding a way to take advantage of those nice days when they come! Coming home from work a bit earlier might help, but tough with traffic!

    1. Any way you could shift your schedule a little earlier in the day? The good part about my husband leaving for work so early is that even a long day means we do have some time in the evenings.

      1. That may be tough.. with my job things pop up all the time so it’s most beneficial that I’m around when everyone else is, meaning I need to work the typical hours unfortunately 😔

      2. Oh I just mean like an hour or two earlier. Then you’re still there for the bulk of the same time as everyone else.

  6. It’s so nice to find someone that also appreciates kombucha! I used to be obsessed with it and had to have a glass everyday in high school. I too share your struggle of buying it from the store, it is just SO expensive. I have made it at home a few times too, it just doesn’t seem to taste the same however (my one always comes out super sweet). Be warned though that you are going to end up with so much scoby!
    Good luck lovely, hope your first batch is amazing!

    1. Yeah, I’m guessing it will take me at least a couple tries (or more) to get a recipe that I really like, but I’m hopeful that I’ll get there eventually!

  7. Those fries look so yummy! I’m lazy and bake my sweet potatoes, but you’ve made me think I should mix up my recipes!

    Well done on the taking lunch streak, I always tell people it’s cause I’m a fussy eater, which is partly true. But it also saves me a ton!

  8. Oh I so know what you’re getting for Mother’s Day! Its green and they sell them at Raintree nursery and you could use it to make Kombucha.

    1. Hmmm… I think I might have an idea. But the kombucha has to turn out first!

  9. More snow this week!!! I am ready to move:(
    I tried kombucha but have to admit I wasn’t crazy about it, I probably should give it another try:)

  10. Our weather was nowhere near as grand as yours! We seem to be on the upward trend, but still stuck in the 40s. That didn’t stop me from riding my bike through slush and puddles yesterday though.

    I like your attitude with the boy. Similarly, we don’t intend to force our kids into anything they don’t show an interest towards. I hope they enjoy baseball like their old man – they really got a kick out of watching my old arse play softball last summer. 🙂

    1. It’s been weirdly nice for March, but I’ll take it! I’m certain the rain and gloom will be back soon enough.

      It took a few years post college softball to play on a slow pitch team, but it was SO much fun. Hope to get on another team myself one of these years 🙂

    1. Oh, we definitely do! I just save those mostly for weekend adventures / the very occasional weeknight out. Don’t get as much value from the work day lunches, and I know myself too well to let it become a habit again.

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